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During this year’s Optical Fiber Communications Conference, we organized a panel on space photonics and astrophotonics, held on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Photonics is expected to play a key role in space applications as optics and fiber-optics penetrates into satellite payloads and photonic components and subsystems become integral functional parts of telecommunication, on-board signal distribution and/or remote sensing instrumentation.
The FCC has received more than 15 applications for constellations with several confirmed inter-satellite link designs relying on laser communications. On the other hand, space instrument science increasingly uses optics and photonics (e.g. fiber-based instruments) for Earth observation and astronomical exploration with operational requirements in extreme environments.
The panel discussed the technology development requirements, qualification deltas, cost targets and ground-based infrastructure required for volume manufacturing and/or integration of space photonic hardware. The panelsts also analyzed the challenges in designing and developing new generation of photonic instruments.